Horses-for-Courses and Heat Checks
Briny Baird: The man with two brand-new shoulders has only found one round over par from 12 this season and his worse finish in the last five seasons at this event is T12, twice. He was T2 last week after co-leading after 54 holes. The only hesitation I have this week with him is how he bounces back after being SO CLOSE to winning for the first time in 365 events.
Charles Howell III: He’s finished T38, T20, T13 and T16 last season so I’m having trouble writing him off for this year. Since he’s posted T5 and T7 in half of his starts in 2013-14 it makes him easy to add to this column.
Scott Brown: The trump here is Brown has been holing everything and pinging fairways. His T3 at Frys.com and T4 last week have seen him collect almost half of his 2013 winnings in just four events this season. In a non-premium field, this is where you fire guys like this!
Kevin Stadler: His ball-striking prowess has been the formula here to post four top 20s in six tries and all six cuts made but his putter will be the club that has to put him over the top. He’ll be looking to bounce back from his double-birdie-bogey finish on Sunday that saw him finish T10 at McGladrey. Very close.
Greg Chalmers: He’s began his 2013-14 with seven of eight rounds in the 60s including his final round 64 last week on St. Simons Island to hit T10. Combined with his T15 to open in Las Vegas, the Aussie is off to a great start. Chalmers fits the winner’s profile to a T as he’s an accurate driver and a wonderful putter. Plus his form is nothing to sneeze at.
John Senden: He got off to a flying start in Las Vegas (65-66) before closing 71-77. He got off to a flying start last week at The McGladrey (66-67) and closed well (68-67) to hit the top 10 for the first time since 2012. He played the final five holes in four under and that will never hurt. It’s his first time playing in Mexico but his recent for screams PAY ATTENTION. Senden was fifth and eighth in the putting categories last week and that’s encouraging as well as we all know he can get the ball in the fairway.
George McNeill: In three tournaments this season he’s managed to fire 62 in TWO of them so that qualifies as HOT where I come from. His T7 in Vegas and T22 last week offset his T62 in Las Vegas. His history at El Camaleon is nothing to write about but he is accurate off the tee and he’s played in three events here.
Cameron Beckman: He needs to make the most of these starts and this would be the course to get his season jump-started. The 2010 champ also has finishes of seventh, 12th and T15 and has played in all six events. Horse-for-course.
John Huh: The defending champ obviously should feel at home this week especially after closing with 63 last year and winning in an eight-hole playoff for his first career win. He’s been having some problems on the weekend this year with 75 on Sunday and the Frys.com and 77 last Sunday at The McGladrey. Remember, the defending champ’s best finish in this event is T12 by Beckman. Not strong history to dovetail there.
Heath Slocum: His 69-66 finish at McGladrey should give him momentum heading south of the border this week. His head should be in a good spot as well as he’s posted T3, T13 and T37 to Mexico in three trips.
Jason Bohn: Did someone say birdies will be necessary? LIGHT UP THE BOHN PHONE. In his one visit to the Mexican Riviera, Bohn found a 68-65 sandwich between 72 and 71 to finish T19. Sure, he shot 77 his last time out but he did make THREE doubles on Friday at McGladrey. He’s an accurate driver of the golf ball and can get the putter rolling as evidenced by his 2013 birdie average, 21st on TOUR.
Russell Knox: After opening with 74 here last year, he played his final three rounds under par so that tells me he made the adjustments. Knox, who has seen all three weekends in the tournaments he’s entered this season, had his worst finish in the last three months last week at the McGladrey (T32). Since the middle of June, when he’s made the cut, he’s finished no worse than T32. That’s what happens when you hit every fairway and most of the greens. Now, that putter…
The Man with His Own Column
Matt Every: After finding the 60s only once in his trip to Malaysia, Every returned to the TOUR last week to fire four rounds in the 60s to hit the top 10 for the third time in his last six events. His finish on Sunday would have been even better if he wouldn’t have bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17 coming home. Every is a birdie or better converting machine even though his putting and ball-striking stats don’t stand out. He just finds ways to get the ball in the hole. He has his own column this week because he’s extremely high risk and high reward. He’s a streaky player and I’d take the risk this week.
Jordan Spieth of the Week Last Week
The column was taken over and thrashed by the kid from Texas last year. Out of respect, I’m not changing the title of it for 2013-14. It will remind me just how good Spieth was in the last three months of the season. This year, we’ll still identify an up-and-coming player and/or rookie that fantasy players should have on their radar.
Frys.com: Hideki Matsuyama, T3; Brooks Koepka, T3; Max Homa, T9.
SHCO: Ryo Ishikawa is only 22, don’t forget, T2; Chesson Hadley, T5.
CIMB: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 24, might have enough money after this week to earn Special Temporary Membership. Pay attention!
WGC-HSBC: Jordan Spieth was 17th. Tommy Fleetwood (T18) is only 22 and plays in Europe. Matsuyama WD with a bad back.
McGladrey: Scott Langley turned 24 last April and is in his second season on TOUR. He finished T22 last week and No. 124 last season. #slimpickinngsthisweek